The Magic and Beauty of Computer Science

Lawrence Snyder

Lawrence Snyder is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. He received a BA from the University of Iowa in Mathematics and Economics, and his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University as a student of A. Nico Habermann. He has served on the faculties of Yale and Purdue, and has had visiting appointments at UW, Harvard, MIT, Sydney University, The Swiss Technological University (ETH), The University of Auckland and Kyoto University.

Throughout most of his career Snyder's research has focused on parallel computation, including architecture, algorithms and languages. In 1980 he invented programmable interconnect, a method to dynamically configure on-chip components, and a technology used today for FPGAs. In 1990 he was co-designer of Chaos Router, a randomizing adaptive packet router. He was principle investigator of the ZPL language design project, the first high-level parallel language to achieve "performance portability" across all parallel computer platforms.

Snyder is author of Fluency with Information Technology: Skills, Concepts and Capabilities, a textbook for non-techie college freshmen that teaches fundamental computing concepts; the book is in its third edition. With former PhD student Calvin Lin (UT Austin), he has written Principles of Parallel Programming, published in 2008.

In service, Snyder was a three-term member of the Computer Research Association Board of Directors, developing a series of best practices white papers. He chaired the NSF CISE Advisory Board as well as several CISE directorate oversight panels and numerous review panels. He has chaired two National Research Council studies, producing influential reports -- Academic Careers for Experimental Computer Scientists and Engineers and Being Fluent with Information Technology; he served three terms on NRC's Army Research Lab Technical Advisory Board. He serves on ACM's Education Board, has been general chair or program committee chair of several ACM and IEEE conferences. He is a fellow of both the ACM and IEEE.

His most important and rewarding accomplishment has been as adviser to 21 doctoral students.